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Rally replaces protest in Trenton

Copyrighted photo by Marilyn Stern

November 22, 2011

A crowd estimated at nearly 1,000 people gathered at the Patriots Theater at the War Memorial in Trenton on November 21 to celebrate the postponement of the vote on the Delaware River Basin Commission’s proposed natural gas regulations—and to keep the pressure on.

A series of speakers including renowned author, biologist and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber, actor Mark Ruffalo, filmmaker Josh Fox, Delaware Riverkeeper Maya van Rossum and more, addressed the crowd.

According to activist Alice Zinnes, who participated in the rally, Delaware Governor Markell was repeatedly lauded for “listening to the voices of thousands who called and emailed, outlining the potentially catastrophic effects of fracking in the Delaware River Basin.”

To rousing cheers, speakers reminded the crowd that the victory was just a beginning. “The river basin is still threatened with a DRBC vote in the future,” said Zinnes. “Pennsylvania and the 32 states where fracking exists are part of the same battle.

“Speakers pointed out that it was in Trenton in 1776 that Washington crossed the Delaware initiating America’s revolution, and that this day marks the beginning of a new revolution where we take back our land and water from corporate interests,” she added.

Rally participants then marched to the New Jersey State House to meet with legislators and later participated in a training session on civil disobedience.

Not everyone was pleased with the postponement. On November 18, PA Governor Tom Corbett issued a press release expressing his disappointment. “Pennsylvania is ready to move forward now,” Corbett said. “We have worked with our commission partners in good faith, and it is disappointing to not have these efforts reciprocated.”

“Today’s delay—driven more by politics than sound science—is a decision to put off the creation of much-needed jobs, to put off securing our energy independence and to infringe upon the property rights of thousands of Pennsylvanians,” Corbett said.

Zinnes, a Pennsylvania resident, said that Corbett’s view of what Pennsylvanians want to see happen does not fairly represent the perspective of residents who want to see fracking kept out of the state.